I am excited for my Denver game this week. Because it is the first one after my character made the switch from Ranger to Serpent Shaman. This has been in the works to some extent for a while. From when I first created the character and chose a snake as an animal companion. Really from the get go this has been in the works. What follows is a discussion about my character, other characters and what makes role playing work for me.
Viper has been good to great at times in most of the games I have played (with the exception of the one time when he ran like a scalded chicken.) And is actually quite lethal with his bow at this point. But I was looking for a hook, a better role playing hook. Because I refuse to play characters that are just good at their role, I want them to have that hook, that thing that they take into every game.
It doesn’t have to be an accent, or dressing up, it is just a hook. Some of my favorite characters have had ones. My first GURPS character who combined Alcoholic with a quirk of spending all the money he had. Lee, my Pentecostal pit fighting Street Samurai. Loveless, the smooth scheming dwarven street samurai. My half breed shaman from Deadlands. The gunfighter who was trying to find his way with religion. Aubrey, the pit fighter trying to survive in space. They all had a quirk, something beyond what was needed to be good at their job in the game.
And now I get to really get into the skin of Viper. The Half Orc Ranger, now Snake Shaman. I have been reading about snakes, watching snake videos. Really getting into how a snake would approach things. Obviously snakes are not heroic, they hunt by luring their prey to them, rather than stalking and chasing them down. So I will get away from that of course. But I can tailor all the other things I do around that approach. No more leaping into battle, or charging. Instead hide in the back, sniping from stealth. Using what spells I have to improve what I do and make my enemies easier to hit. I hit upon this hook while trying to figure out a direction to take my character. I found the Serpent Shaman option in the Advanced Players Guide, and after some discussion with the GM it was agreed I could take this option.
This goes in line with some of the other characters in the group, some of them take to the ‘cinematic’ approach I take. The war priest of Thor who has tailored everything he has to be exactly like the stories (to the point of having a cart drawn by huge goats). The super curious fey gnome sorcerer, who uses a lot of mind control type of spells. I just think role playing is more fun when the people who are playing strive for a hook. It is something I have tried to teach the boys, and I think Jimmy is slowly learning but the other boys don’t quite get it. But hopefully they will learn.